Healthy resolutions: Make the switch while satisfying cravings

Published: Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 03:29 PM.

PANAMA CITY — With the new year comes new resolutions — or broken resolutions revisited.

Chef Jessica Bright helped Julie Hadden, runner up on NBC’s “Biggest Loser, Season 4,” transform her favorite foods into something healthier without sacrificing flavor.

“Julie was a self-admitted junk food junkie,” said Jessica, who met Julie in Jacksonville. “I had this weekly radio show in Jacksonville, ‘The Promise’ — a popular Christian radio station, every Tuesday morning for seven years straight. Julie lived in Jacksonville and listened to the show. After she did so well and was writing this book, she asked if I’d consider doing recipes.”

By the season finale, Julie had lost 45 percent of her body weight. Jessica contributed 16 recipes to Julie’s book, “Fat Chance: Losing the Weight, Gaining My Worth,” which was published in December 2009. (See more about Julie and the book at

“I love cooking creatively and coming up with solutions,” said Jessica, who relocated to Panama City in August.

The Quick and Easy Pita Pizzas recipe, along with others such as Not-Fried Okra, appears in “Fat Chance.”

“I knew from our conversations about food that pizza was one of Julie's favorite things to eat,” Jessica said. “The first time I cooked for her family, I made them do all the work. I prepped all of the ingredients and had them over to make their own grilled pizzas with whole-wheat pizza dough. Julie was really not into cooking, but her son, Noah, enjoyed the pizza we made so much that the recipe soon became a family favorite in the Hadden household. However, Julie modified things a little so she could get in and out of the kitchen faster with the use of pitas instead of fresh pizza dough.”

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